SSI 2020 Hall of Famers Analyze the Security Industry

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine asks George De Marco, Merlin Guilbeau, Jeff Kessler and Richard Kleinman what significant industry developments are on the horizon.

Without a doubt a highlight for me each year is getting to really know the fascinating lives of those annually selected for induction into the SSI Industry Hall of Fame.

While I am typically familiar with most of them due to their security exploits and moving in some of the same circles, inevitably during the discovery process, as the result of studying the full scope of their accomplishments and histories, incredible stories and fine details emerge.

For that reason, I urge you to review each of this year’s seven Hall of Famers profiles meticulously. The human interest aspect of the Hall is pretty fantastic in and of itself, but what makes the whole enterprise even more rewarding is the incredible wealth of wisdom pulled from 100+ of the sharpest, most successful minds to ever toil in this industry.

Going all the way back to when this institution was launched in 2004, there is no doubt I have personally learned so much from interviewing and speaking with them all. I take advantage of the opportunity to not only scratch beneath the surface to expose the full magnitude of their achievements but also pique their brains for keen insights on business building and the security industry itself.

My mission then is to share as much of it as possible with you through this issue’s cover story, this column and additional online content. Of particular relevance is advice and vision from those still quite active and continuing to pile up wins, such as 2020 inductees George De Marco, Merlin Guilbeau, Jeff Kessler and Richard Kleinman.

I asked each of them what significant security industry developments are on the horizon. Their perspectives offer us all food for thought.

“Newcomers will continue to rewrite the rules of engagement. Technological innovation, unique go-to-market strategies, demographics shifts, strategic partnerships and creative pricing practices continue to redraw the competitive landscape. Also, security services will become more commonplace as lone worker and tracking services go beyond the traditional perimeter of a home or business. As well, video alarm verification will finally become more accepted by traditional companies, greatly reducing false alarm dispatches.” — De Marco

“The sky is the limit. A decade from now, we will move from turning lights and thermostats on and off with an app or voice control to relying on artificial intelligence. The smart home will learn about their occupants and anticipate their needs. Central to all of this will be the data that is collected and analyzed. I will also say the term ‘disruption’ is overused. For the last 30 years, our industry has experienced changes. Granted, today we may experience more of them at a faster pace, but with technology change is inevitable.” — Guilbeau

“The use of increasingly sophisticated and targeted analytics in sensing devices is totally disrupting the commercial/industrial space. Predictive, real-time and post-event analysis that provides a new learning point for the system to improve will be a gating factor for video and access. Being able to cut out false alarms, improve police and healthcare response, and lower municipal fines for false alarms will be what the top third tier of the residential home automation business will require to compete with cheap systems that can be either DIY or ‘professionally’ installed. The use of robots and drones will dramatically alter the use case for certain commoditized, route-based surveillance jobs.” — Kessler

“DIY business will continue to have a dramatic effect on the residential side of the business. As municipalities stop responding to alarms and/or increase their false alarm fees and as younger generations take over houses that had POTS lines and cancel those for Internet and cellular, DIY business will increase and traditional residential systems decline. This could also affect wholesale central stations. Conversely, more stringent fire codes will make the fire alarm portion of the business more valuable. While this end of the business may be more difficult [than security], it is the sector with the least amount of attrition and is the most regulated.” — Kleinman

Click here to view the SSI Industry Hall of Fame.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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